Dr. Amrutha Gopal
Abstract: Relativistic laser-solid target interaction is a powerful source of terahertz radiation where broadband terahertz radiation is emitted from the front and rear surfaces of the target. Even though several experimental works have reported the generation of subpicosecond duration gigawatt peak power terahertz pulses from the target rear surface, the underlying physical process behind their origin is still an open question. Here we discuss a numerical model that can accurately reproduce several aspects of the experimental results. The model is based on the charged particle dynamics at the target rear surface and the evolution of the charge separation field. We identify the major contributors that are responsible for broadband terahertz emission from the rear surface of the target.
Abstract: Single-cycle pulses with multimillion volts per centimeter field strengths and spectra in the terahertz (THz) band have attracted great interest due to their ability to coherently manipulate molecular orientations and electron spins resonantly and nonresonantly. The tremendous progress made in the development of compact and powerful terahertz sources have identified intense laser-thin foil interaction as a potential candidate for high-power broadband terahertz radiation. They are micrometers in size and deliver radially polarized terahertz pulses with millijoule energy and gigawatt peak power. Although several works have been carried out to investigate the terahertz generation process, their origin and angular distribution are still debated. We present here an indisputable study on their spatiotemporal characteristics and elaborate the underlying physical processes via recording the three-dimensional beam profile along with transient dynamics. These results are substructured with the quantitative visualization of the charge particle spectra.
Abstract: The interaction of a high-power laser pulse with a thin foil can generate energetic, broadband terahertz radiation. Here, we report an experimental investigation on the influence of incident laser polarization and wavelength on the terahertz emission and maximum proton energy from the target rear surface. For similar incident laser intensities, the characteristics of the particle beams and the terahertz radiation show a wavelength dependence. The results fit well with the established scaling laws for the terahertz yield and the maximum proton energy as a function of the incident laser irradiance.
Abstract: Longitudinally polarized terahertz radiation offers access to the elementary excitations and particles that cannot be addressed by transverse waves. While transverse electric fields exceeding 1 MV/cm are widely utilized for nonlinear terahertz spectroscopy, longitudinally polarized terahertz waves at this field strength are yet to be realized. In this paper, we experimentally demonstrate that by focusing radially polarized terahertz fields generated from laser–thin metallic foil interaction, longitudinally polarized terahertz with record-breaking field strength above 1.5 MV/cm can be obtained. Furthermore, we also traced the evolution of the geometric phase of the longitudinal component as it propagates through focus. A novel scheme based on noncollinear electro-optic detection has been utilized to unambiguously measure the polarization states. Our result will scale up the nonlinear spectroscopy of solid materials and particle acceleration experiments where on-axis polarization plays a crucial role.
Abstract: Nonlinear refractive index and absorption coefficient are measured for common semiconductor material such as silicon and organic molecule such as lactose in the terahertz (THz) spectral regime extending from 0.1 to 3 THz. Terahertz pulses with field strengths in excess of 4.4 MV/cm have been employed. Transmittance and the transmitted spectrum were measured with Z-scan and single shot noncollinear electro-optic pump-probe techniques. The THz-induced change in the refractive index (Deltan) shows frequency-dependence and a maximum change of -0.128 at 1.37 THz in lactose and up to +0.169 at 0.15 THz in silicon was measured for a peak incident THz intensity of 26 GW/cm2. Furthermore, the refractive index variation shows a quadratic dependence on the incident THz field, implying the dominance of third-order nonlinearity.
Abstract: We experimentally characterize the generation of high-power terahertz radiation (THz) at the rear surface of a target irradiated by multiple laser pulses. A detailed dependence of the THz yield as a function of laser pulse duration, energy, target material and thickness is presented. We studied the THz radiation emitted mainly in two directions from the target rear surface, namely target normal (acceptance angle 0.87 sr) and non-collinear direction (perpendicular to the target normal direction—acceptance angle 4.12 sr). Independent measurements based on electro-optic diagnostics and pyroelectric detector were employed to estimate the THz yield. Most of the energy is emitted at large angles relative to the target normal direction. THz yield increases with incident laser intensity and thinner targets are better emitters of THz radiation compared to thicker ones.
Abstract: We report on the experimental observation of Smith–Purcell (SP) radiation generation by charged particle beam from laser–matter interactions. High-power laser pulses were focused onto a thin metal foil target to generate proton beams with energies up to 1.7 MeV via the target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA) process. The particle beam from the TNSA process was sent close to a periodic structure to generate SP radiation. Sub-μJ terahertz pulses were recorded using a pyroelectric detector. Simultaneous measurement of the ion spectra allowed us to estimate the power of the emitted radiation and compare it with the experimental results. The distance between the grating and the particle beam was varied and its effect on the emitted radiation was studied.
Abstract: We exploit inverse Raman scattering and solvated electron absorption to perform a quantitative characterization of the energy loss and ionization dynamics in water with tightly focused near-infrared femtosecond pulses. A comparison between experimental data and numerical simulations suggests that the ionization energy of water is 8 eV, rather than the commonly used value of 6.5 eV. We also introduce an equation for the Raman gain valid for ultra-short pulses that validates our experimental procedure.
Abstract: Laser-produced solid density plasmas are well-known as table-top sources of electromagnetic radiation. Recent studies have shown that energetic broadband terahertz pulses (T rays) can also be generated from laser-driven compact ion accelerators. Here we report the measurement of record-breaking T-Ray pulses with energies no less than 0.7 mJ. The terahertz spectrum has been characterized for frequencies ranging from 0.1–133 THz. The dependence of T-Ray yield on incident laser energy is linear and shows no tendencies of saturation. The noncollinear emission pattern and the high yield reveal that the T rays are generated by the transient field at the rear surface of the solid target.
Abstract: We report the observation of subpicosecond terahertz (T-ray) pulses with energies ≥ 460 μJ from a laser-driven ion accelerator, thus rendering the peak power of the source higher even than that of state-of-the-art synchrotrons. Experiments were performed with intense laser pulses (up to 5 × 10^19 W/cm^2) to irradiate thin metal foil targets. Ion spectra measured simultaneously showed a square law dependence of the T-ray yield on particle number. Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations show the presence of transient currents at the target rear surface which could be responsible for the strong T-ray emission.
Abstract: We report the first experimental observation of terahertz (THz) radiation from the rear surface of a solid target while interacting with an intense laser pulse. Experimental and two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations show that the observed THz radiation is mostly emitted at large angles to the target normal. Numerical results point out that a large part of the emission originates from a micron-scale plasma sheath at the rear surface of the target, which is also responsible for the ion acceleration. This opens a perspective for the application of THz radiation detection for on-site diagnostics of particle acceleration in laser-produced plasmas.